Ohio public transit agencies set to lose millions each year due to change in state tax law, OPTA's working to restore vital funding
Seven years ago as Ohio struggled to emerge from the worst economic downturn since the depression, cash-strapped transit agencies dependent on sales tax revenue for a significant share of their funding received a much-needed boost when a new law applied state and local sales taxes to health care services provided by Medicaid Managed Care Organizations, (MCOs). The millions of dollars in additional revenue generated made it possible for public transit systems to avoid steep fare hikes and crippling service cuts.
Unfortunately, because the federal government ruled that the MCO tax violates Medicaid rules, the critical revenue it provides will vanish at the end of July. The Kasich administration found a way to permanantenly replace the hundreds of millions of dollars the state receives from the tax but the fix leaves transit agencies by the side of the road after "transistional revenue" from the state runs out in 2019. Unless the governor and the legislature act soon to replace the funding, systems across the state will lose more than $38,000,000 each year beginning in 2019.
OPTA’s made reversing these devastating cuts a priority. You can help by adding your name to our online petition and by contacting the governor and your state legislators. Now is not the time to throw public transit in reverse. Please join in our effort to keep transit rolling today, tomorrow and for years to come.
STATE FUNDING | FAST FACTS
The state of Ohio funds only three percent of public transit expenditures.
At $0.63, Ohio ranks 38th in the nation in per capita funding for transit.
State GRF funding for transit dropped from $43.6 million in 2000 to $7.3 million in 2014.
In order to satisfy the current unmet demand for transit, systems would need an additional $289 million in funding, $212 for urban systems, $77 million for those operating in rural areas.
A change in state tax law will erase millions of dollars in funding for transit and could result in service cuts, fare increases, and other negative impacts. OPTA's working hard to find a solution. Click here to for the latest news about this critical issue and to join in our effort to solve this fiscal dilemma.
Every dollar invested in public transit generates four dollars in activity in the general economy. That means the $900,000,000 spent on transit in Ohio generates $3.6 billion in sales of goods and services ranging from steel to tires to software--and it could be billions more if we fully fund our transit agencies.
The Trump Administration's recently released budget blueprint calls for drastic cuts in transit funding. Learn more, then contact your legislator and urge them to invest in America's future by supporting public transportation.
Experts agree: the demand for transit will explode in the years ahead. Are we prepared to make the investments needed to keep up and keep our state and nation growing? View blueprints for the future then make your voice heard in Columbus and Washington.
Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans utilize public transit every day, including veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, commuters and students. Check out the many ways transit improves the quality of life in our biggest cities, small towns, and rural communities.
Transit's commitment to the use of alternative fuels and green energy is driving research and development, business growth, and job creation in a wide array of industries that will power the economy in the 21st Century.